Plea for arts support

Speaking at the official opening of the Hyde Conference last weekend, Professor Alan Titley, Conference Director, made a plea for funding for the arts, saying that it is what makes us what we are. After speaking of the various roles taken on by Hyde, Professor Titley noted that Hyde ‘wanted to make the present a rational continuation of the past.’ Hyde’s project to de-anglicise Ireland was likened by Professor Titley to Socrates’ words about self-knowledge. ‘He wanted the Irish people to know themselves, learn about history, culture, songs, that were being wiped out at an enormous rate.’ Instead of being obsessed with economics, Professor Titley noted that when Ireland is being marketed abroad, the focus is on writers and the arts. ‘Businessmen are the same the world over, but writers belong to a place and a time. The only reason we have an Irish state is because the writers and GAA and musicians got together and enacted a cultural revolution. If we didn’t have that we wouldn’t have an Irish state. We owe a debt of gratitude to Douglas Hyde and County Roscommon and the people who said we are losing who we are’. Concluding he had a plea for the Finance Minister. ‘Please support the arts, it’s what makes us what we are.’